|Title||Heritage in trust: sustainable stewardship in transition?|
Frequently identified with ‘establishment’ values the National Trust has as often been a focus of critique as of celebration. This essay examines the Trust's changing relation to contested values of heritage as manifest in its acquisitions and management policies, in its engagement with environmental and social issues and an emerging politicisation which transcends a narrow, purely property‐based interpretation of its statutory purpose. Recent acquisitions challenge conventional perceptions of ‘natural beauty’ and ‘historic interest’. Organisational greening has precipitated a review of the implications of stewardship ‘in perpetuity’. Recognition of the needs of local communities and awareness of equal opportunities issues have prompted a reinterpretation of its founders’ concerns with access and enjoyment ‘for the nation’. These developments manifest an inchoate shift in the Trust's emphasis from the preservation of the status quo to engagement with change, both within the context of its own properties and in its relations to the wider society and environment. The Trust is unlikely ever to lead changes in public perceptions of heritage but neither is its role necessarily or irredeemably a wholly reactionary one. Inertial and cautious, the Trust reflects and articulates the shifting resolution of contested cultural values.
|Journal||International Journal of Heritage Studies|
|Journal citation||2 (3), pp. 145-159|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||doi:10.1080/13527259608722168|